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Gainesville students demand justice for Kofi Adu-Brempong

Administration building occupied
By Jared Hamil |
April 7, 2010
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April 6 protest in Gainesville.
April 6 protest in Gainesville. (Fight Back! News)

Gainesville, FL - 250 people rallied here, April 6, to support Kofi Adu-Brempong, the University of Florida student who was shot in the face by police. This rally follows two meetings with the University of Florida administration as well as the chief of the University Police Department. Both meetings proved to be a stalling tactic against both the Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality and Students for a Democratic Society. During the rally, the anger at administration's stalling was expressed many times.

The protest began with a rally in Turlington Plaza with speakers including Kofi Adu-Brempong’s niece, leaders of Students for a Democratic Society, a law professor and community members. From there the angry protesters marched to the administrative building at Tigert Hall. A second rally heard speakers from the United Faculty of Florida and a co-president of the Graduate Assistants United. The students talked to a spokesperson for the administration and presented him with a list of demands. After a few minutes, the anger at the administration's stalling caused the crowd to occupy the building. The occupation finally ended after a future meeting was set between the Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality and the University of Florida President, Bernie Machen.

Next the people marched in the streets to the university police department, chanting “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” and carrying signs that said “Justice for Kofi!” Then over 100 people signed complaint forms against the police.

The day ended with a rally where people chanted, “Campus cops it's not your place, to shoot a student in the face,” and “Same thing every time, being black is not a crime.” More than one speaker pointed out how Keith Smith, the officer who shot Adu-Brempong, was involved with throwing eggs and harassing Black people in the local community in the recent past. The rally ended that afternoon with the coalition vowing to keep pressuring the University of Florida administration and talk of going after the district attorney.